With an acquittal, Bradley Manning avoided his most serious charge, but he still faces convictions on multiple counts of violating the Espionage Act and theft. The judge has broad discretion for sentencing.
Pfc. Bradley Manning was found not guilty on Tuesday of “aiding the enemy” for his role in providing documents to the online site WikiLeaks, a charge that could have sent him to prison for life without possibility of parole.
The intelligence analyst, who pleaded guilty to a number of lesser offenses before the trial began, was also charged with several counts under the Espionage Act.
The verdict was greeted with mixed feelings by Manning supporters, including the American Civil Liberties Union. “While we’re relieved that Mr. Manning was acquitted of the most dangerous charge, the ACLU has long held the view that leaks to the press in the public interest should not be prosecuted under the Espionage Act,” said Ben Wizner, director of the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, in a statement.